Monday 8 January 2018

Comprehensive School Safety and Security Programme: Legislative Framework and Further Actions

How to make National Disaster Management Plan (NDMP) work on the ground at the community level? One of the important steps is to start at school level. Comprehensive School Safety and Security Programme (CSSSP) has been designed and developed, aiming to make 15 lakh schools in India safe. AIDMI and UNICEF are taking initiatives with various programs and activities, including shaping and spreading the concept of School safety and Security. 

Regarding to legislative framework, different Ministries of Government of India have issued and established guidelines or advisory boards regarding to School safety and security of schools, which has greatly assisted the implementation of CSSSP. To name a few, Ministry of Human Development established Advisory Board on Corporal Punishment in schools in March 2014, which is fairly widespread and includes activities on different aspects of CSSSP. The Central Board of Secondary Education focused on School Bus as a useful start for school-level activities in School Safety Programs for students in March 2017.

The Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD) developed a Guideline for state and district authorities on Safer Schools in October 2014. In December 2014, the Ministry also issued Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) on dealing with terrorist attacks on schools. This SOPs is considered to be inclusive for schools guidelines. In February 2015, Guidelines on Food safety and hygiene for schools kitchens under Child Day Meal Scheme was also developed by the Ministry to covers nutrition and safety aspects of schools. (Table 1).

Towards this end, here are some points to be noted in CSSSP:
1. Ministry of Human Resource Development     
    (HRD) must take a greater role in developing 
    and  advancing the concept of CSSSP.
2. The 13th Formation Day of India organized
    by National Disaster Management Authority
   (NDMA) witnessed a veritable gathering of 
   key stakeholders who deliberated upon the key 
   activities to be embedded in the CSSSP     
   processes of the country. Among the key  
   themes discussed were the challenges of lack 
   of skills among teachers and students on topics of 
   school safety and security.
3. Affirmative action is important to make education become inclusive and equal, but to what degree, 
    the state authorities have to define it and take this ahead in DRR activities. A more focus on girl 
    child in mock drills, for example, is one step ahead. Specific roles of disabled children in       
    awareness raising campaigns is another step forward. Similarly, the role of media to comprise 
   different perspectives needs to be leveraged.
4. The school bus is an indispensable asset for schools as it helps students to commute from home to 
    school and then back again. However, the legal liability in case of untoward incidents is not clear, 
    making these buses extremely unsafe for the students when travelling.
5. Are we missing "Safety as a medium" of DRR learning at schools? There is an opportunity to 
    teach math's through mock drills and geography through hazard assessments. At some points, 
    safety as a medium must come in. In this regard, school-to-school exchange is important.
6. Role of Members of Parliaments is crucial in making schools safe.  Each MP can have a review of 
    the performance of private and public schools -in their agenda in making the students safe.
7. Information security is another important aspect. Children are more and more exposed to the 
    Internet and virtual games. Without the supervision of adults, this can lead to different problems 
    ranging from a neglect of studies to sexual and physical abuse along with anxiety and depression.
8. 'Gender' must be included in CSSSP. Safety of Girl Children is key and essential Women and 
Child Development Department must take a lead role to ensure gender based safety and security.

Some initial work on CSSSP has been successfully done in Kashmir, and there are clear indications that it is possible to upscale and broaden the CSSSP across India.

The time has come for State Disaster Management Authority (SDMA) and State Education Departments to find ways to design and develop CSSSP for 2018.

– AIDMI Team
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Friday 5 January 2018

India and ASEAN: Partners in Making Asia Safer

The partnership between India and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is critical for realizing the vision of the Asia Regional Plan for Disaster Risk Reduction. The idea of such a partnership and its details can be taken up at the upcoming Pravasi Bhartiya Diwas being celebrated in Singapore on January 6-7, 2018. Similarly, this idea can also be taken up at Indo-ASEAN Commemorative Summit, to be held on January 25, 2018.

Pravasi Bharatiya Divas is one of the most important annual celebrations organized by the government of India to commemorate the achievements and goodwill of the Indian diaspora across the world.

The Indo-ASEAN Commemorative Summit will consolidate the 25 year old partnership between India and ASEAN as well as celebrate the millennia old human, maritime, cultural, commercial and religious bonds between the people of India and those of the ASEAN nations.

The Asia Regional Plan (ARP) for Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) was accepted and launched at Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (AMCDRR) in Delhi in India, November 2016, under the leadership of Shri Kiren Rijiju, Union Minister of State for Home Affairs of India who is now energetically championing the implementation of ARP.

International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR) of the United Nations from Bangkok office is monitoring and facilitating the implementation of ARP.

An Asia that is resilient to disaster and climate risks would be immensely beneficial for both India and the ASEAN countries. As Asian economies scale newer rates of growth, it is important to protect that prosperity from the ravages of disasters. The partnership between India and ASEAN not only has the potential of making Asia resilient but also the potential of firmly putting its economies on a path to green growth and sustainability.

Apart from the obvious economic ties of trade, investment and business, India and ASEAN also share strong cultural and social links. Leveraging these links can offer co-benefits to both the parties at substantially lesser costs. All these factors have poised India and ASEAN to shape the future of economic prosperity and human progress in Asia.

The following are India's key five DRR Achievements:
• National Disaster Management  Plan of India is in line with Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk        Reduction. 
• Disaster Management Guidelines for more than 25 disasters and cross cutting issues such as in        
   school safety and child centred disaster risk reduction with UNICEF support.  
• Disaster Management Plans at National, State, District and sub-district level such as in Assam. 
• Well trained and well equipped National and State Disaster Response Forces such as in Andhra  
• State of the art Emergency Operation Centres at all levels such as in Gujarat.

ASEAN's key five DRR achievements include:
• ASEAN Committee on Disaster Management (ACDM) for regional activity.
• ASEAN Agreement on Disaster Management and Emergency Response (AADMER) for joint
• ASEAN Vision 2025 on Disaster Management for direction.
• ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance on Disaster Management (AHA Centre)
  for response.
• ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) for dialogue and informing decisions.

Singapore has a keen interest in national security (which includes making schools safer); promoting (and protecting from disaster and climate risk) trade and industry; and collaborative foreign affairs (including responding in humanitarian crisis).

India is keen to promote (and protect investments and assets) in shipping, transport and highways; show case Assam and North East as a destination for investment (and make such investment safe from disaster and climate risks); and invite investments in rapidly growing coastal economy of Andhra Pradesh (that is climate and disaster risk resilient).

What India and ASEAN can jointly take up as key areas for cutting edge action under ARP are: one, finding ways to address the increasing challenges of disaster related displacement in Asia; two, using digital technology to develop comprehensive school safety and security programme for Asia; three, encouraging local leaders to initiate local disaster risk reduction planning to reduce the loss of life and livelihoods in Asia; and four, ensure system wide penetration of risk transfer and insurance in Asia.

India’s Foreign Minister Smt. Sushma Swaraj and Singapore’s Deputy Prime Minister Shri Teo Chee Hean will thus play their historic roles in making Asia safer and more prosperous at these two events.
– AIDMI Team

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